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All-Star Week to open with new military events

Army, Air Force to play in Armed Services Classic prior to Home Run Challenge
MLB.com

As baseball's brightest stars ready to take center stage at the All-Star Game presented by Mastercard on Tuesday, the diamond at Nationals Park will be broken in for them on Friday by members of the armed forces at the inaugural All-Star Armed Services Classic presented by T-Mobile.

The event, which is set for 7 p.m. ET on Friday, will feature the two winning squads from a two-day round-robin softball tournament on June 2-3 between co-ed teams of the five branches of the military -- the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard. The Army and Air Force have won the honor to battle for the title.

As baseball's brightest stars ready to take center stage at the All-Star Game presented by Mastercard on Tuesday, the diamond at Nationals Park will be broken in for them on Friday by members of the armed forces at the inaugural All-Star Armed Services Classic presented by T-Mobile.

The event, which is set for 7 p.m. ET on Friday, will feature the two winning squads from a two-day round-robin softball tournament on June 2-3 between co-ed teams of the five branches of the military -- the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard. The Army and Air Force have won the honor to battle for the title.

The event is free and open to the public, with tickets distributed among the five military branches, as well as military service organizations. It will be the first major ballpark event of All-Star Week, and it will be streamed live on MLB.com.

Fan can secure their free tickets by visiting Nationals.com/ASG or AllStarGame.com as well as the ticket windows at Nationals Park the day of the event. Gates open at 5 p.m.

After the game, the All-Star Armed Services Home Run Challenge presented by T-Mobile will take place, where one member from each branch will compete for the chance to participate in the T-Mobile Home Run Derby on Monday. The winner will be able to hit alongside the Major League participants during the breaks in action on Monday.

The five home run competitors include nine-year Army member Jacob Hensal, 19-year Marine Chris Maddox, six-year Naval member Russ Newbern, 17-year Air Force member Matthew Campbell and 21-year Coast Guard member Ken Glover.

After pregame ceremonies to honor each of the five teams and a national anthem performance from the U.S. Army Brass Quintet accompanied by the Armed Forces Color Guard, the first pitch will be thrown out by 95-year-old Ed Bearss, a U.S. Marine Corps combat veteran from World War II who attended the first MLB All-Star Game in 1933.

The Armed Services Classic will be one of several military-related events put on by MLB and the Nationals, as baseball honors the armed services while hosting the All-Star Game in the nation's capital. There will be a USO metro depot dedication on Thursday before Military Appreciation Weekend on Friday through Sunday.

Zachary Silver is a reporter for MLB.com based in Baltimore.